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Day 2, ewww

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Still puffy, a little sore, and my face feels slightly hot. It’s not terrible, but I took an aceteminophen w/codeine earlier. My face is reddish/brown and swollen. I washed my face for the first time with the extra-gentle cleanser that they gave me. The directions are to wash, but not to wash off the Hydrobalm ointment, and then to re-apply more ointment. I could see some skin coming off already. I’m a little itchy in places. I keep touching my face and getting ointment on my fingers.

My assistant was here and said that it wasn’t as bad as she expected—I guess I over-prepared her. I haven’t seen anyone else yet, although I sent a picture to a friend and she also thought it didn’t look so bad. I look exactly like I remember Dr. Zimmet looking in the pictures he showed me after his Active FX procedure, so I’m sure this is all par for the course. I’m seeing him two days from now so that he can gauge my process.

The thing that has surprised me most is how tired I was yesterday. I guess it was unrealistic to think that I’d come home and get right to work as if nothing had happened. It makes sense that your body might be somewhat fatigued from working to heal. I’ve been eating very healthy stuff—a “green” smoothie with spirulina, some kombucha, a raw broccoli salad. Tomorrow I’m going to make the raw cheesecake and raw corn chowder. I have watched MANY episodes of CSI (I rented the first two seasons, which I’ve never seen) and read some of my book.

Here's one of my "before" shots.

Another "before."

The first "after." Dr. Zimmet took this one in his office.

Still Tuesday, July 27

See the Active FX Laser Resurfacing Video, part 1.

It’s the evening of the procedure day and I want to give a quick recap. First we shot some “before” pictures. At about an hour before the actual procedure began Dr. Zimmet’s aesthetician, Hadley, covered my face with a topical anesthetic and gave me a Xanax (mild tranquilizer) and a Vicodin (pain reliever). After about 30 minutes my face started to feel quite numb. After 60 minutes, Dr. Zimmet came and in and administered shots (nerve blockers) to my forehead, near my eyes, and near my mouth. The shots weren’t too bad; Dr. Zimmet “shakes” the area so the shot doesn’t pinch much. And by this time I was feeling the Xanax, which tends to make everything easier. I tied my hair back and Hadley gave me a headband to get all of my hair off my face. They started the chiller—chilled air was blowing on my face the entire time, which felt really good, because the primary feeling from the laser was heat.

Dr. Zimmet started the laser treatment around the edges of my face—he called that “feathering,” I’m not sure why. I think he starts there because the sensation is the least strong. The most sensitive place was around my mouth. It reminded me a little of the sensation with Thermage, which is kind of like being zapped with something hot. He did my eyelids last, and I think using a different tip. I expected that area to be the most sensitive but it wasn’t bad at all. The whole procedure took maybe 30-35 minutes. Afterwards, they gave me a mirror. My face was already kind of brown with little spots all over my skin. We took some more pictures, and then Hadley covered my face with ointment. Dr. Zimmet had told me that it would feel like a major sunburn, and having had some bad sunburns in my teens I remember what that feels like, but I think this may have been even hotter. They gave me some ice to hold to my face, and I did so all the way home. (I went through P. Terry’s–best veggie burgers in Austin!–drive-through on the way home, and I’m sure the guy thought I looked freakish, but I was starving and didn’t really care).

When I got home I felt very sleepy, probably from the Xanax. (And I’m still sleepy now, so will post the recovery directions tomorrow.) When I woke up it felt like most of the ointment had soaked in, so I put some more on and took a close look at my face. It’s pretty puffy, which is normal for the first couple of days. It’s quite brown, like someone with really terrible sun damage. You can see the little dots created by the machine. I took a few pictures. I don’t really feel pain unless I touch my face; the right side feels a little bit sore. I’m supposed to put the ointment on four times a day and not let my face get dry, and I think I might need to apply it even more than that because it feels like it’s soaking in. It still feels kind of hot, and tight. All of which I expected. Can’t wait to see what I look like when I wake up in the morning!

Tuesday, July 27

Today is the day! I woke up at 4 a.m. with that pre-vacation sort of anticipation. I was happy to have time to walk my dog, since he probably won’t have a walk for the next four days unless I can get a friend to walk him. I remembered to wear my glasses instead of contacts, since they’ll be putting the disc things in my eyes before the treatment. I’m here now at Dr. Zimmet’s office, early to meet Julia who is going to interview me and Dr. Zimmet, and possibly Lydia. He went over the entire procedure with me again and asked several times if I had questions. They are very, very thorough here with preparations and checking in. Hadley called yesterday to make sure I’d gotten my prescriptions. I’ve remembered not to wash my face with anything but mild soap (not exfoliating) the last couple of days and I also remembered to take the Valtrex twice yesterday and once this morning. I’m a little nervous . . . curious what it will feel like and will be happy when the actual procedure is over. Dr. Zimmet told me again that I’ll look sunburned and possibly puffy at first and that in the days to come it might feel like the getting-back-to-normal process is taking a long time. I think that will be one of the valuable things about this diary. There are lots of before-and-after pictures online, but I haven’t seen any of the in-between pictures. I plan to post a picture or two every day so you, my readers (I hope there will be some readers!) can see the whole process—the good, bad and the ugly.

Monday, July 26

Tomorrow is the day. I’m excited.  Yesterday I bought some inexpensive blue pillowcases at Target. Dr. Zimmet suggested old pillowcases but I don’t have any of those (except some that I used to cover up plants during winter freezes).  This evening I am planning to go grocery shopping and to the movie store.

Dr. Zimmet’s office called in two prescriptions for me and I picked them up at Walgreen’s on 45th and Guadalupe. Continue reading

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